Q: Do I have to pay GST when I purchase a home?GST New Housing Rebate Program
You may be eligible to claim a rebate for a part of the GST you pay on the purchase price or cost of building your home if:
You buy a new or substantially renovated home (including the land or if you lease the land) from a builder;
You buy a new mobile home (including a modular home) or a floating home from a builder or vendor;
You buy a share of capital stock of a co-operative housing corporation;
You construct or substantially renovate your own home, or carry out a major addition (or hire another person to do so); or
Your home is destroyed in a fire and is subsequently rebuilt.
Resale homes are exempt from GST.
New homes are subject to GST. New home buyers can apply for a 2.52 % rebate of the GST applicable to the purchase price to a maximum of $8,750 for homes costing less than $350,000 before GST.
For new homes priced between $350,000 and $450,000 before GST, the GST rebate would be reduced proportionately.
New homes priced $450,000 before GST or higher would not receive a rebate.
NOTE: In the Greater Toronto Area, most builders include the GST in the price of the house, and any rebate would be assignable to the builder as they would be absorbing the net GST cost.
Q: Can I use my RRSP's for purchasing a Home?
A: The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program under which you can, generally, withdraw up to $20,000 from your Retirement Savings Plan (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home. Withdrawals that meet all applicable HBP conditions do not have to be included in your income, and your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts. However, before you can withdraw funds you must have entered into a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home which you must occupy no later than one year after buying or building the home.
If you buy the qualifying home together with your spouse or other individuals, each of you can withdraw up to $20,000. You cannot withdraw an amount from your RRSP under the HBP if you or your spouse owned the home more than 30 days before the date of your withdrawal.
Up to $20,000 per person could be withdrawn tax-free from RRSPs to buy or build a principal residence. Couples -- including common-law -- will be able to withdraw up to $40,000.
You have to meet the first-time buyer's condition. You are not considered a first-time home buyer if you or your spouse owned a home that you occupied as your principal place of residence in the past 5 years. To determine past 5 years, the 4 years preceding the year you make your withdrawal plus the period in the year you make your withdrawal ending 31 days before your withdrawal is the rule adopted.
Home buyers withdrawing funds do not have to pay income tax on the amount withdrawn, as long as the funds are repaid into an RRSP in the future.
The 15-year repayment period will begin in the second calendar year following the calendar year in which the withdrawal is made. In addition, a qualifying home must generally be acquired before October 1 of the calendar year following the year of withdrawal. For example, those making withdrawals under the plan in 2000 will have until October 1, 2001 to acquire a qualifying home and their first annual repayment will be due by the end of 2002 or the first two months of 2003.
A special rule denies a tax deduction for contributions to an RRSP that are withdrawn within 90 days of the RRSP deposit being made. Consequently, to get the normal tax break for a contribution and to use those funds under the plan, the money must be in your RRSP for at least 90 days before a withdrawal is made.
You can participate in the HBP more than once if:
Your HBP balance for your previous participation is zero on January 1 of the year you want your new participation in the HBP to occur; and
You meet the first-time buyer's condition and all other HBP conditions that apply to your situation.
Existing homeowners can use the HBP to purchase a more accessible home or a home for a disabled dependent relative where the individual withdrawing the funds:
Qualifies for the disability tax credit (DTC) and is buying a home that is more accessible for the individual or is better suited for the care of the individual;
Is related to a disabled individual who qualifies for the DTC and is buying a home for the benefit of the disabled individual that is more accessible for, or better suited for, the care of the disabled individual, or;
Is related to a disabled individual who qualifies for the DTC and is withdrawing an amount for the disabled individual to buy a home that is more accessible for, or better suited for, the care of the disabled individual.
For more information call 1-800-959-8281 or visit Revenue Canada's web site here.
RRSP HOME BUYER PLAN REQUIREMENTS
FIRST TIME BUYER: REQUIREMENTS
You must be a first time home buyer or you must not have owned a home in the last five (5) years. Provided you satisfy all requirements, you may re-activate the program.
You must use the home as your principal residence in Canada .
ANY HOME (NEW OR RESALE):
The home can be new from the builder or resale.
90 DAY DEPOSIT:
R.R.S.P. funds must have been on deposit for at least 90 days before they can be used under the program.
FUNDS FOR ANY USE:
The funds can be applied to the down payment, land transfer tax, legal fees and disbursements, improvements to the home, even furniture and appliances.
MAXIMUM $20,000 PER BUYER
You can borrow up to a maximum of $20,000.00 from your RRSP. tax free. The maximum for two spouses is $40,000.00.
After an initial grace period of two full calendar years (plus the balance of the year in which the withdrawal occurred) you are required to pay back the funds borrowed over a period of 15 years by depositing 1/15th of the amount withdrawn, annually to your RRSP. Prepayments are allowed at any time without penalty. However, if you miss a payment for any given year, you will not be allowed to pay it back and it will be included in your taxable income for that year.
Q: What is Current Value Assessment (CVA)?
A: In 1998, the Province of Ontario reformed the property assessment legislation in Ontario with the implementation of Current Value Assessment (CVA). Under this new assessment system, all property assessments in Ontario are updated on a regular basis.
The CVA of a property represents an estimated market value, or the amount that the property would sell for in an open market, arm's length sale between a willing seller and a willing buyer at a fixed point in time.
For the 1998 to 2000 taxation years, property assessments were based on a June 30, 1996 valuation date. For the 2001 and 2002 taxation years, property assessments in Ontario were updated to reflect current values as at June 30, 1999. For the 2003 year, property assessments were updated to reflect current values as of June 30, 2001 valuation date. For 2004, property assessments were based on the June 30, 2003 valuation date.
Q: When will the next reassessment occur?
A: The 2006 and 2007 assessment updates of properties in Ontario were cancelled. As a result, assessments continue to be based on current value as of January 1, 2005. Municipalities are using the January 1, 2005 values to calculate property taxes for 2006, 2007 and 2008. Education tax rates, which are set by the Provincial Government, are also being applied to the January 1, 2005 assessed value.
The chart below illustrates the province-wide assessment update cycle since 1997.
ASSESSMENT UPDATE CYCLE
1998, 1999, 2000
June 30, 1996
June 30, 1999
June 30, 2001
June 30, 2003
2006, 2007, 2008*
January 1, 2005
Q: Who determines the assessed value (i.e. CVA) of my property?
A: The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) is a not for profit corporation responsible for determining the CVA and tax class for all properties in Ontario for municipal and education taxation.
In November 2003 MPAC mailed notices of assessment to all Toronto property owners advising them of their new CVA based on a June 30, 2003 valuation date.
Q: What do I do if I disagree with the CVA for my property?
A: If you do not agree with your assessment:
1. Contact MPAC Toll Free number: 1 866 296-MPAC (6722), Access for the Deaf, or Hard of Hearing is available by calling, 1 877 TTY-MPAC or through the Bell Relay service. You may also fax at: 1 866 297-6703 or send an e-mail at: email@example.com Please have your 19-digit roll number available when you call.
2. Ask MPAC to review your assessment
If you feel your assessed value or classification is not correct, MPAC will review it free of charge. You may request a review any time before December 31, 2008.
There are three ways to request a MPAC review:
Complete a Request for Reconsideration form. Forms are available at www.mpac.ca
Call us toll-free at 1 866 296-MPAC (6722) to request a form. Write a letter requesting a review. In your letter, please include: the 19-digit roll number on your Notice, your full name, address and phone number; and the reasons why you feel your assessment is not correct, including any information you have to support your claim. If you feel that your property has been valued incorrectly you can have your assessment reviewed by MPAC by filing a 'Request for Reconsideration'. There is no fee for this request and the deadline to apply for the 2005 taxation year is December 31, 2005. You can visit the MPAC website at www.MPAC.ca to obtain a Request for Reconsideration form.
If your Request for Reconsideration is successful, MPAC will forward the results directly to the City in order to expedite processing of any tax adjustment.
If other information on your Notice of Assessment is inaccurate, such as the assessed owner, location or property description, etc. you may contact MPAC at 1-866-296-6722 (toll free) to verify details about your property.
Property owners also have the option of filing a formal appeal with the Assessment Review Board (ARB). The fee for this appeal is $50 for residential properties and $125 for commercial properties. The deadline to file an appeal with the ARB is March 31, 2005. Applications are available by contacting the ARB at 416-314-6900 or by visiting their website at www.arb.gov.on.ca
3. File a Notice of Complaint
You may file a Notice of Complaint with the Assessment Review Board (ARB), an independent tribunal of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. Specific application forms and fees are involved, and you will have to appear at a hearing to support your argument. MPAC will also appear at the hearing. A complaint must be filed before March 31, 2008, even if you have already requested a review from MPAC.
For more information, contact the ARB toll-free at 1 800 263-3237 or 416 314-6900 or visit www.arb.gov.on.ca
Q: What is the difference between the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the consumer website MLS.ca?
A: The Multiple Listing Service is a cooperative system used only by REALTOR Members of Canada's real estate boards. It is accessible to any REALTOR Member who has agreed to represent your interests and share remuneration from the transaction with a cooperating REALTOR Member. The MLS contains detailed information and numerous search tools, all designed to match people with the properties that fit their exact requirements. MLS.ca is a website operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that displays an abbreviated version of most listings uploaded to the MLS system.
Q: What should we do to prepare our home for the Fall Season?
A: Don't "Fall" into the Season Without Preparing Your Home! Proper maintenance of your home and garden will help preserve your investment. And best of all, keeping your house in tip-top shape this fall will prevent any unnecessary chores in the spring.
- Complete exterior painting before cooler weather arrives
- Check and repair exterior lighting before daylight fades
- Store lawn ornaments and patio furniture in a shed or basement. If space is limited, weather-resistant covers can protect outdoor furnishings
- Cover air conditioner and barbecue to prevent winter damage
- Close your pool before leaves start to fall, and nighttime temperatures begin to drop
- Till and prepare planting beds when the soil is relatively dry. By adding soil and mulch to your beds, you'll be a step ahead for spring planting
- Plant spring blooming bulbs and perennials
- Protect roses, saplings and small trees by sheltering them with a burlap screen
- Pull weeds to reduce the number of seedlings next spring
- Mow grass short for the final cut of the year by reducing the cutting height gradually to 3.5 cm (from 7.4 cm) until the grass stops growing
- Bring container plants indoors, making sure they are free of pests. Doing so may enable plants to survive the season and bloom again in spring
- Check and clean your humidifier. Empty the tank, dry the inside surfaces and refill with clean water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Q: Did MLS.ca change names
A: Yes MLS.ca has moved and has become REALTOR.ca
ON October 2, 2008 --the mls.ca website is now REALTOR.ca. As a result of two years of study and re-design, the site has evolved into a portal providing consumer access to all of the public web sites operated on behalf of REALTORS®.
The re-branding of the website was recommended by a task force of The Canadian Real Estate Association, and approved by the membership at the CREA Fall Assembly in 2007. While the site is re-branded, the old address – www.mls.ca - will not disappear. CREA will maintain ownership of the old URL, and consumers using it or referring to bookmarks will be automatically re-directed to the new site.
“CREA certainly recognize the marketing importance of the existing web site” says CREA President Calvin Lindberg.“We want to make sure the changes are not detrimental to the fact the existing www.mls.ca is a popular real estate web site in Canada.”
According to Comscore, an independent internet use auditing company, there were an average of almost 3 million unique visitors a month on the existing site throughout 2007.
Some new features were also added to REALTOR.ca when it launched on October 2nd. All of the existing features from mls.ca moved, but interactive mapping wsa introduced with the launch of the new site. The interactive mapping technology is provided using Microsoft Virtual Earth technology, and includes both mapping and “true view”. Visitors can search for properties using the existing detailed Advance Search, a new “Quick Search”, or by using the interactive mapping to select the specific area or neighbourhood their interested in.
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